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Print Guide

File Preparations

The Risograph prints one colour at a time. Therefore, your print files should be separated into individual grayscale images for each colour that is to be printed. Technically, 100% black in each colour layer will print out as 100% of whichever colour you are printing. 90% black will print as 90% and so on.

Save all files in CMYK colour mode.


For images prepared in Photoshop, separate each colour layer into individual grayscale files.


For images prepared in Illustrator or InDesign, separate each colour layer into individual grayscale PDFs. Alternatively, you can send us an Ai file with separate layers.

For Example

Your final file size should be within 11” x 17” and in portrait orientation. The outer part of your file is the lead edge of the paper, meaning the final printed paper will have a white border around it.

When working with a CMYK file in Photoshop, open the Channels Menu and select Split Channels. This will create new grayscale files – one for each colour channel (layer) from your template.


Alternatively, if you have prepared colour separations in layers using Illustration or InDesign, you can use the File > Export > Layers to Files function to split them into individual files. Then, open each file and convert it to grayscale.


Images in PDF must be JPEG, grayscale and 300dpi; with no effects and no transparency.


Keep art as vectors (outlined) when exporting. All solid shapes and type should be set to Registration Black.

Fonts cannot be smaller than 5pt. 


Send us a colour mockup in PDF or JPEG as reference.


Half-tone Options

When sending your files for print, you can choose to control how the Risograph ‘half-tones’ your image before a digital file is transferred to a master file. Please communicate with the printer on your preferred half-tone for each colour layer from your file.

For Example

Printable Area

We stock only tabloid-sized paper, so if your design is small, please consider placing multiple copies of it on a single sheet to save on printing cost.

For Example


Registration Marks

Because each colour layer requires a separate pass through the printer, registration on multi-colour Risograph prints will never be perfect. 


It is recommended that you add registration marks to your file to aid in lining up multiple layers. These can also double as trim marks if you plan on cutting down your print to its desired size from a larger sheet.


Leave a ¼” margin on 3 sides around your artwork, and at least a 1” margin on the lead edge of the paper.


Overprinting is when colours are printed over each other. This creates noticeably new colours as the colours are blended.




Knockout is when you isolate colours so they won’t overlap each other. This way, you only print with spot colours.



The Risograph uses a soy-based ink that does not contain a drying agent. As a result, the ink never fully dries; even the drying process in between printing takes a long time depending on the weather, print area, and paper. 


Like newsprint, rubbing the ink with your finger, even after it is “dry”, can result in smudging. 


As a solution, ink smudges and roller marks can often be lightly erased with a plastic eraser. Prints that will be heavily handled (such as book covers) can be finished with spray fixative to help prevent smudging. 


As with posters that require heavy ink on certain areas, this may result in ink transfer on to the back of the next sheet and extended drying time. 


Avoid large areas of heavy ink and block colour

(they should be 75% max).

Further Assistance

Should you need assistance, we are happy to help you prepare your files at any stage for printing at an hourly rate.

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